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Mental Health Services

Volume 601: debated on Monday 26 October 2015

16. What steps the Government are taking to support young people with their mental health in schools. (901780)

Good mental health and attainment are different sides of the same coin, which is why the Secretary of State appointed me as the first Education Minister with responsibility for mental health in schools. We are taking a number of steps, working with partners, to improve the mental health of young people.

Given that mental health conditions can be life-limiting for many young people in school, how are the Government ensuring that teachers have access to appropriate materials to teach pupils about mental health in an age-appropriate way so that we can break through this stigma?

I am glad my hon. Friend has asked that question. We have been working with the PSHE Association to develop age-appropriate lesson plans, as well as improving counselling and guidance, so that teachers know how to teach about mental health and deal with the range of issues they come across in young people.

As well as offering welcome advice and support to schools, will the Government consider introducing a compulsory psychological assessment for all children entering care to complement the physical assessment already required?

That is a very good suggestion. I understand from my hon. Friend the Minister for Children and Families that we already have a health assessment, but we are open-minded on all ideas about how to tackle the problem. I will happily meet the hon. Gentleman to discuss his suggestion.